Delay in L&L’s Park Avenue office development could boost project

May 15, 2012 10:00AM

L&L Holdings will have to wait until 2015 before it can begin developing Park Avenue‘s first new office tower in more than 30 years. According to the New York Post, that could be a blessing. The Bloomberg administration has begun pushing a rezoning of office buildings in the Grand Central area that would lift restrictions on new buildings.

The current codes allow a floor to area ratio of just 15 for newly constructed office towers, unless at least 25 percent of an existing structure is salvaged. In that case, towers built before 1961 that exceed the limit can be rebuilt to their previous square-footage.

As a result, L&L had been planning to keep one-quarter of the existing, 32-story structure, that opened in 1957 at 425 Park Avenue, when it sent out a request for proposals to a list of big-name architects. However, the firm can’t begin work on a new structure until 2015, when leases expire. By then, it’s possible that the zoning changes, first suggested by CBRE’s Mary Ann Tighe, will be passed.

“If they make the modification to City Planning, we would do full demolition and take advantage of it,” L&L Chairman David Levinson said. It would allow the firm to completely reconceptualize the $750 million project. [Post, 3rd item]